Our Best Barbecue Side Dishes
Don’t miss these recipes for staff-approved barbecue side dishes to round out your next low-and-slow gathering.
Complement your best ‘cue with these staff-favorite barbecue side dishes, all with a savory, mouth-watering twist. Our barbecue sides transform staples like coleslaw and potato salad into side dish stunners.
These sides truly steal the show. Try the crowd-pleasing Bacon Potato Salad or the tangy Green Barbecue Sauce, which uses green tomatoes and tomatillos for a flavorful flair. If you are short on time, whip up the family-favorite Root Beer Baked Beans; they're as memorable as they are easy to make. Going fork-free? Barbecue sandwiches are perfectly paired with our seaside-inspired, bite-sized Crispy Andouille Hush Puppies. From Easy Vegetable Kebobs to Grilled Jalapeño-Lime Corn on the Cob, these barbecue sides will ensure that guests clean their plates at your next backyard barbecue.
Big Daddy's Grilled Blue Cheese-and-Bacon Potato Salad
Recipe: Big Daddy's Grilled Blue Cheese-and-Bacon Potato Salad
Potato Salad is the ultimate staple BBQ side dish, and this grilled version takes a Southern crowd-pleasing favorite to the next level. Grilling the potatoes in an easy-to-fold aluminum foil packet adds a subtle note of smoky flavor, plus it makes cleanup a breeze. Tangy vinegar, fresh parsley, red onion, and Dijon mustard make this potato salad perfect as a Summer barbecue side dish. Hearty flavors of blue cheese, bacon, and mayonnaise also make this delicious potato salad great for a fall tailgate. Refrigerate this dish for a few hours to serve cold, or serve immediately for a heart-warming side dish that guests will love.
Crispy Andouille Hush Puppies
Recipe: Crispy Andouille Hush Puppies
Readers from the deep South will see the word “Andouille” in this recipe’s title and immediately add it to their cookbooks, but for those who haven’t heard of this spicy, smoky Creole-Cajun pork sausage, you’ll want to see what you’ve been missing. These crunchy, savory hushpuppy upgrades are coated in a beer batter and deep-fried to golden perfection. Whip them up in 35 minutes using only a few ingredients – cornmeal, flour, onion, eggs, buttermilk, beer, and, of course, Andouille sausage. Bonus if you can find a homemade authentic link. Make sure that you serve them warm – keep them in an oven at 200 degrees until the party starts.
Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad
Recipe: Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad
Bragging rights for this flavor-packed, perfectly balanced potato salad favorite go to Blair Hobbs of Oxford, Mississippi, and The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook. Hailing from Oxford, Mrs. Hobbs probably knows a thing or two about making a side dish that is perfect for every tailgate and barbecue she attends. This recipe is so good because of the fresh ingredients Mrs. Hobbs throws in her bowl – Yukon potatoes, pickles, red onions, green bell peppers, celery, parsley, pimiento peppers – and that’s not even to mention the variety of spices she adds. The ingredients combine in a unique salad that’ll make your guests shout to the Lord in thanks and praises
Cooking Video: Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad
Recipe: Candied Jalapeños
These sweet and spicy candied jalapenos are our new go-to summer topping. And although the idea of candying your own peppers may seem like a daunting task, this is actually one of our easiest recipes ever (although guests will never suspect it!). With a spicy kick from red chile peppers and pickled jalapenos, these candied peppers need only a little bit of lime zest, pickled jalapenos, and plenty of sugar. Make sure to put these together at least 48 hours before you need them so the jalapenos have time to take on the fiery-sweet crunch. This spicy side goes great on barbecue sandwiches, nachos, hot dogs, crackers, and even cornbread.
Watch Us Make It: Candied Jalapeños
Recipe: Creamed Corn
Take advantage of that fresh, sweet summer corn you picked up at the farmers’ market with this classic Southern dish. All Southerners can agree that although we always keep a can of creamed corn in our pantries, the homemade version is the ultimate in Southern comfort. Corn, which is naturally sweet, simmers with heavy cream and butter for a heart-warming barbecue side. Make sure you keep an eye on the corn as it simmers; it needs to cook only until it's tender. If it starts to dry out and stick to the skillet, add water a little at a time.
Recipe: Freezer Coleslaw
Freezer coleslaws were a hit in all of our vintage eighties issues, and now we can see why. Make this sweet and tangy vinegar-based slaw ahead of time. With minimal cook time and a short ingredient list, this coleslaw is easy enough to whip up on a weeknight to prepare for the upcoming weekend gathering. After you combine the dressing with the shredded slaw mixture, throw it in the freezer for up to a month. Whether you’re making it for a party, or just as a side to have on-hand for a weeknight family dinner, this versatile slaw will please the crowd. Just set it out 3 hours before serving – it’ll stay cold and crunchy longer than most.
Recipe: Peanutty Coleslaw
This zesty Asian twist on classic slaw is wonderful with smoked chicken and pork. Wasabi paste and fresh grated ginger give this colorful mix a delightful eye-opening Asian kick. And the surprising peanutty crunch takes the flavors up a notch. This restaurant-level side dish is perfect as an appetizer, on its own, or even on top of a classic plate of Southern BBQ. Traditional flavors like green onions and mayonnaise mesh with classic entrees, while more unconventional spices add an additional layer of flavor. Don’t worry about leftovers (if you even have any!) This delicious Asian slaw is even better the next day piled high on a leftover pulled pork sandwich.
Napa Cabbage-and-Sweet Pepper Slaw
Recipe: Napa Cabbage-and-Sweet Pepper Slaw
Unlike the title suggests, Napa Cabbage does not hail from California. It is actually a type of Chinese cabbage grown near the Beijing region of China. When shopping for Napa Cabbage, look for a long, oval shaped leafy green that more closely resembles a large head of romaine lettuce. Because it is sweeter and softer than green cabbage, Napa cabbage is perfect for eating in its raw form, like coleslaw. Sweetened with honey, this slaw gives a nod back to its Asian roots with a rice vinegar base. Flavored with red onion, parsley, and mint, this unique slaw is a great change of pace that your guests will gobble up. Serve with pulled pork sandwiches for a smoky and sweet Southern meal.
Barbecue Deviled Eggs
Recipe: Barbecue Deviled Eggs
No Southern get-together is complete without a platter of deviled eggs, and there are endless ways to make them. This barbecue deviled egg recipe is the best of both worlds – deviled eggs kissed with smoky chopped pork. One of our favorite make-ahead tips: place yolk filling in a zip-top plastic bag, and the egg white halves in another container (especially handy if taking to barbecue). When you’re ready to fill egg white halves, simply snip a corner of the zip-top plastic bag and pipe away. Still can’t get your deviled eggs to come out right? Make sure you are not falling victim to one of the dozen ways to ruin deviled eggs.
Recipe: Tomato-and-Onion Salad
There are complex sides that come in and out of style. Then, there are classic side dishes that have withstood the test of time, and continue appearing on barbecue spreads across the South. We love this recipe because it adds a simple, summery, healthy side to any summer get-together. The flavors of this tomato salad recipe really shine with the addition of sweet Vidalia onions, fresh basil and balsamic vinaigrette. Fresh sliced tomatoes paired with sweet Vidalia onions and a little chopped fresh, fragrant basil. This recipe is actually better if prepped a few hours ahead, which allows all the flavors to get cozy. Add a few slices of fresh mozzarella for a caprese-inspired upgrade.
Watermelon, Mâche, and Pecan Salad
Recipe: Watermelon, Mâche, and Pecan Salad
Take two Southern icons, watermelon and toasted pecans, and combine them with slightly sweet, nutty mâche. Mâche, French for “Lamb’s lettuce,” is known as the “mayonnaise of salad greens for its buttery, tender, velvety, and nutty taste – like a less pepper or bitter arugula, cooked as you would cook spinach. Add melon, pecan, and cheese to raw mâche and you have one out-of-this-world salad. And crumbled Gorgonzola adds an unexpected layer of creamy richness. Feel free to substitute your favorite baby lettuce for mâche – it’ll work just fine. Toss in a reader-favorite classic Southern salad dressing, pepper jelly vinaigrette, for a salad that will disappear before your eyes.
Bacon Potato Salad
Recipe: Bacon Potato Salad
One reader calls this Bacon Potato Salad her “go-to company salad.” It’s light, flavorful, and satisfying – perfect for any summer barbecue or potluck. Simple ingredients like green onions, celery, pimiento, and paprika combine in a classic potato salad that has stood the test of time. We found this recipe works best with round white potatoes. You can reduce calories from fat by using light mayo and light sour cream. Jazz up your presentation by serving this salad in paprika-rimmed glasses. Simply dip the rims in lemon or lime juice, then into paprika. Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika, and a celery stick spear.
Fipps Family Potato Salad
Recipe: Fipps Family Potato Salad
One of the Southern Living Staff’s all-time favorite potato salads, no collection of potato salad is complete without the beloved Fipps family recipe. The secret to this simple 6-ingredient star is Duke’s Mayonnaise (a Greenville, SC culinary institution), a touch of spicy brown mustard, and boiled eggs, which are grated on the largest holes of a cheese grater. The recipe calls for baking potatoes, but we also love it with red-skinned potatoes. Leave the potato skins on, or peel your taters. This creamy, hearty potato salad recipe works either way. Take the flavor up a notch with a sprinkle of garlic or onion powder, but be sure not to add to many extras – this recipe is iconic because of its simplicity.
Green Barbecue Sauce
Recipe: Green Barbecue Sauce
You have heard of vinegar-based, mustard-based, sugar-based, and even white barbecue sauce. Now, we are throwing a new one out at you: green barbecue sauce. This Tex-Mex twist on traditional barbecue sauce combines tangy green tomatoes and crisp tomatillos for a tongue-tingling flavor sensation. A slow, 2-hour long simmer of green tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic cloves, vinegar, onion, mustard, and red pepper gives this sauce rich, yet still fresh, flavor. You just have to try this summery barbecue sauce over your favorite recipe for barbecue chicken, shrimp, or grilled fish. Better still, you can make this up to 1 week ahead.
Root Beer Baked Beans
Recipe: Root Beer Baked Beans
This tasty twist on baked beans stirs together in minutes, then bakes just until bubbly and thick. Transform canned pork and beans into gourmet-level baked beans by stirring in peppery-sweet root beer, dry mustard, hot sauce, and bacon. The 5-minute prep time might make this dish one of your summertime favorites. We love the convenience of canned pork and beans, which are kicked up to the next level with a touch of barbecue sauce, dry mustard, and hot sauce, before getting a sweet, bubbly kiss of flavor from a Southern favorite: good ol’ root beer. Instead of traditional brown sugar, root beer provides the same amount of necessary sugar with added flavors of sassafras and sarsaparilla.
Green Bean, Grape, and Pasta Toss
Recipe: Green Bean, Grape, and Pasta Toss
If you like broccoli salad, you will love this colorful red-and-green salad. Savory bacon and crunchy chopped pecans add texture and saltiness to the creamy-dressing-coated dish. Creamy mayonnaise, sugar, and tangy red wine vinegar combine in a sweet yet sharp dressing. Seedless red grapes bring sugary sweetness that will bursts in your mouth. Cook the pasta al dente, so it's firm enough to hold its own when tossed with the tangy-sweet salad dressing. Up the elegance by presenting this beautiful salad on a bed of greens, and if you’re in a bind, substitute whichever vegetables you have on hand for an easy alteration.
Heirloom Tomato Salad With Fresh Lady Peas
Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Salad With Fresh Lady Peas
This colorful dish comes together with just a few fresh ingredients. Crunchy fresh lady peas, fragrant basil, juicy heirloom tomatoes, and creamy goat cheese are coated in Lemon-Herb dressing with fresh basil. This dish is perfect to make after a Saturday morning trip to your local farmers’ market for local, fresh ingredients. You can find many hues of heirloom tomatoes from local farmers, which gives this dish its beautiful presentation. Complement the fresh flavor of sliced tomatoes with basil and goat cheese in an herb dressing. If you’re already firing up the grill, take advantage and add some smoky flavor – grill them on skewers and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Easy Vegetable Kabobs
Recipe: Easy Vegetable Kabobs
Who says veggies have to be boring? Balsamic vinegar and honey make these a sweet and tangy complement to your main dish. Prepare tender, slightly charred vegetables at your next barbecue with this simple recipe. The white wine marinade really adds a unique flavor to the veggies making this dish stand out. Prep whatever you picked up at your local farmers’ market – we love summer vegetables like zucchini, okra, Japanese eggplant, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and cherry tomatoes. Pay attention to the vegetables’ various cook times – you don’t want to char them too much. Remember to soak your skewers to keep them from cooking along with the vegetables.
From-Scratch Oven Fries
Recipe: From-Scratch Oven Fries
America’s favorite side item, French fried potatoes are a standard side dish that satisfies adults and children all the same. Our lightened up version pairs perfectly with your favorite burger or barbecue recipe. Don't be afraid to sprinkle with different seasoning blends instead of salt for a new twist; try renditions like Buffalo fries, Italian-Parmesan fries, spicy cheese oven fries, or make up your own for a trendy, gourmet version. Use baking potatoes when making these homemade French fries, because they will not fall apart in the cooking process, and they will maintain the crispy exterior and creamy interior that makes a great French fry. The best part? Because they are oven-baked, the fries have less fat and calories, and there is no oily mess to clean up.
Zucchini, Squash, and Corn Casserole
Recipe: Zucchini, Squash, and Corn Casserole
This Zuchini, Squash, and Corn Casserole is the perfect side to make after a summer Farmers’ Market trip. Soft, white breadcrumbs double as a feather-light binder and golden crumb topping. To make them, pulse torn slices of day-old sandwich bread in the food processor. Sprinkle the fresh breadcrumbs on top of a creamy mixture of summer squash, butter, onion, garlic, fresh corn, white Cheddar cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and beaten eggs; top with Asiago cheese. This colorful casserole comes together in just over an hour. Bring it to a community gathering as a potluck side, or make a family weeknight meal of it, and serve it along with simple grilled chicken.
Step-by-Step Video: Summer Squash Casserole
Grilled Jalapeño-Lime Corn on the Cob
Recipe: Grilled Jalapeño-Lime Corn on the Cob
Fresh summer corn is delicious enough already; amp up traditional char grilled corn by fixing it as trendy “Mexican Street Corn.” Add south-of-the-border flavor to buttery grilled corn with ground pepper, spicy jalapeño peppers, cilantro, garlic, lime zest, and lime juice. Because you will be preparing the corn without the Latin lime buttery mixture, we suggest you double the lime butter recipe and use the remainder with other parts of your meal – one reviewer said that she keeps it in her fridge to use for topping on fish, grilled pork, and vegetables. This Southern rendition of savory, finger-lickin’ Mexican Street Corn is sure to bring a trendy cantina feel to your backyard barbecue.